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Pacific Northwest Road Trip 2011 ~ Redwood National Park

September 18, 2011

And so it begins… the long overdue blog post(s) about our epic trip from Los Angeles to the Canadian Border and back.  A trip that we planned for six months and have talked about daily since we returned over a month ago.  A trip that we’d take again tomorrow if you told us we could!

To sum it up nicely here is a breakdown of our journey!

In the course of 20 days we…

drove 4,261 miles of road through 3 states

spotted 48 different US license plates + 3 Canadian

trekked through 6 National Parks

camped in 3 different places, including 1 yurt

saw 6 bald eagles, dozens of elk, swarms of bats and 1 snake

took over 3,500 pictures & 4 short videos

climbed 2 lighthouses & 1 volcanic cinder cone

explored 3 caves

kayaked around 3 islands

and drove the car onto 1 ferry!

We headed out of Los Angeles bright and early on day 1 which set us up for a great lunch at Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland followed by a quick pitstop in San Francisco for our favorite ice cream at Bi-Rite.  A short while later we landed in Petaluma for our first overnight.  This calculated stop set us up for a celebratory evening at both Lagunitas as well as Russian River Brewery.  If you know how much we love a good craft beer, especially IPA’s then you realize what a huge deal this is.  If not, well… just trust me.  It’s something special!

That said, we consider day 2 the official start to our vacation as we landed in National Park #1… home of the awe inspiring California Redwoods.   Having never been to Redwood NP before I didn’t have huge expectations.  I mean, I’ve been to Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP… I’ve done the drive through tree and I’ve stood inside a burned out tree trunk.  I didn’t understand what was going to be so special about a grove of tall trees along the California coast.  Daniel on the other hand has been to Redwood and he couldn’t stop trying to convince me that it was going to be amazing.  Well, he was right.  It was truly spectacular.  I can honestly say that there isn’t one site that stands out in my mind as the reason for it’s beauty.  We saw herds of elk, golden cliffs rising above the ocean, a canyon lined with ferns, our first bald eagle,  and of course trees that seemed to reach the sky. Perhaps the saying is true… the total experience is much greater than the sum of it’s parts.

We started our adventures with a drive down to gold bluffs beach where we did the fern canyon hike.  To say it was beautiful would be a drastic understatement!  The trail is actually along a small stream and you traverse between dry spots by crossing a combination of narrow branches and huge tree trunks which crisscross over the water.  The canyon walls are completely covered in bright green ferns and if you look closely you might come across one of the local residents… in our case a striped snake!

Daniel and I both had high hopes of spotting wildlife on the trip and were absolutely ecstatic when on the drive back to the main section of the park we passed through two different herds of Roosevelt Elk. The first was grazing in deep grass and weren’t too interested in us.  The second herd however was quite exciting.  A group of roughly two dozen decided to cross the street just as we approached the open valley and we were right in the middle of a group of huge males with full sets of antlers along with mothers and their playful young.  It was by far the best traffic jam I’ve ever experienced!

Of course all of these sights were just the icing on the cake compared to what we were really here to see… the tallest trees ever!  It’s ridiculous how high up these things grow and after a few hours you actually forget what a normal tree looks like.  You lose all sense of scale until you are hiking back towards your car and realize that you can’t see it because it’s parked behind a tree trunk.

We were sad to pack up after just a couple days in the park but excited to discover the next part of our trip… the much hyped Oregon Coast!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2011 3:30 am

    Amazing photos!!!! The elk are amazing!!! I love the one licking it’s lips!!! I would love to get a chance to get up there some day!!! One day when my kids are older and can sit in the car for longer than a Disney movie!!! =) Thanks for sharing!

  2. September 18, 2011 3:46 am

    Beautiful pictures! I agree with Kellee…when my kids are older and can sit still in a car I want to do this too! Thank you for allowing me to “travel” through your photos! 🙂

  3. September 21, 2011 3:13 pm

    great photos! looks like you had a blast.

  4. September 22, 2011 6:57 pm

    Stunning pics! Looks like you had an incredible trip. We drove from LA to San Fran a few weeks ago, but I’ve never been farther north to see the redwoods. One day! 🙂


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